Tue, Jul 31, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Legislator brushes off report on Ma visit to US

HOLDING OFF Though the KMT said it might halt its own UN proposal if the DPP suspended its drive, it said this was unrelated to disapproval by the US and China

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Su Chi (蘇起) yesterday dismissed media speculation that KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) plan to visit the US in September has been changed as a result of US dissatisfaction with the KMT's referendum proposal on joining the UN.

Su, a close aide to Ma, said Ma's US visit has not been finalized because he has a busy schedule in Taiwan.

Su was responding to a story in yesterday's Chinese-language China Times that speculated that Ma had not announced his trip to the US because the US also frowned upon the KMT's UN referendum bid.

The KMT seeks to hold a referendum on "returning" to the UN under a "practical" title.

On Wednesday, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that the KMT's proposal, which has garnered more than 100,000 signatures, had passed the threshold for the proposal to be established.

The Referendum Law (公投法) stipulates that a referendum proposal cannot be established unless it garners signatures from more than 0.5 percent of the nation's eligible voters, or 83,000 people.

The story also quoted an anonymous source from Ma's camp as saying that although the treatment Hsieh received during his trip to the US this month had been limited as a result of the DPP's referendum on joining the UN using the name "Taiwan," the US has not decided how it should treat Ma.

But the source said it is unlikely Ma would receive the same high-profile treatment he did during his US visit last year.

Su yesterday said the KMT has not received any concerned telephone calls from the US regarding the KMT's referendum bid.

"This is because the KMT's referendum proposal, unlike the DPP's, does not concern the issue of independence versus unification or attempt to change the nation's title," he said.

In related developments, the KMT yesterday sent its first-stage collection of signatures for its UN referendum to the Central Election Commission for review.

KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) said yesterday that the party would halt its UN referendum proposal if the DPP suspended its UN referendum plan.

However, Wu said that holding off on the KMT's UN referendum proposal had nothing to do with the disapproval of such a referendum expressed by the US and China.

"We presented the UN proposal because the DPP's plan was not good enough. It's everyone's hope that Taiwan can become a UN member, so we came up with a better referendum bid. However, to pass the referendum doesn't necessary mean that we can join the UN," Wu said.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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